The ongoing and much talked about fuel crisis hits English football with leagues postponing matches throughout this week.
The current fuel shortage is causing havoc with the non league schedule as games continue to be called off with teams struggling to travel to stadiums up and down the country.
Petrol stations up and down the country were raided on Friday and throughout the weekend as consumers made desperate attempts to fill up.
Reports of a fuel shortage caused by a lack of HGV drivers has caused panic among many leaving football clubs lower down the football pyramid to suffer.
Even though some journeys are considered minimal in mileage, clubs are still not keen to take the risk.
Herne Bay, who play in the eighth tier of English football, have postponed their game with Ramsgate, who are just 14 miles away.
In a statement they said: “The Isthmian League sent out an opportunity to clubs to postpone their midweek fixtures due to the fuel shortage, and anticipated difficulties getting players, officials and supporters to matches.
“Ramsgate shortly after accepted this option and have asked to postpone our fixture due to travel difficulties.
“This is outside our control.”
Bowers Pitsea vs Corinthian-Casuals and Hornchurch vs Folkestone Invicta, both seventh tier clashes, have also fallen foul to the fuel shortage.
Hastings United were due to host Ashford United, which would’ve been a 50 miles round trip for the visitors.
However they issued a statement on Twitter saying: “Sadly our game Tuesday at home vs @AshfordUnitedFC has been called off in anticipation the fuel situation could continue for a couple more days This game will be rescheduled”.
Bognor Regis Town have cancelled their clash with Leatherhead, citing “the current fuel supply issues”.
More games are expected to fall foul of the current situation.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insists there is no fuel shortage in the UK.
He has urged people to fill up as they normally would rather than planning ahead as a precaution.
“The most important thing is, if people carry on as they normally would and fill up their cars as they normally would, then you won’t have queues and you won’t have shortages at the pump either,” he told Sky News.
“It’s not like we don’t have fuel in the country. We do need to just ensure people are filling up when they need to fill up, rather than thinking I’d better go and fill up now just in case I need it next week or the week after.”
Bishop’s Stortford P – P Enfield Town
Bognor Regis Town P – P Leatherhead
Bowers & Pitsea P – P Corinthian-Casuals
Folkestone Invicta P – P Hornchurch
Lewes P – P Carshalton Athletic
Margate P – P East Thurrock United
Worthing P – P Merstham
Hanwell Town P – P Sutton Common Rovers
Staines Town P – P Basingstoke Town
Dereham Town P – P Bury Town
Felixstowe & Walton United P – P Heybridge Swifts
Great Wakering Rovers P – P Grays Athletic
Cray Valley PM P – P Phoenix Sports
Faversham Town P – P Hythe Town
Hastings United P – P Ashford United
Haywards Heath Town P – P Chichester City
Herne Bay P – P Ramsgate
Sittingbourne P – P Whitstable Town
Whitehawk P – P Burgess Hill Town
Kingstonian P – P Horsham
Bedfont Sports P – P Thatcham Town
Stowmarket Town P – P AFC Sudbury
Sevenoaks Town P – P East Grinstead Town
Chipstead P – P Chertsey Town
South Park P -P Tooting & Mitcham United
Hendon P – P Chesham United
Bishops Stortford P – P Enfield
Lymington Town P – P Larkhall Athletic
Tamworth P – P Hitchin Town
Truro City P – P Dorchester Town
Bideford AFC P – P Frome Town
Berkhamsted P – P Bedford Town
Banbury United P – P Biggleswade Town
Atherton Collieries P – P Ashton United
Chatham Town P – P Punjab United
Crowborough Athletic P – P Glebe
Erith & Belvedere P – P Fisher
Kennington P – P Hollands & Blair
The Southern Combination Football League (Steps 5 and 6) has postponed all midweek fixtures due to the petrol shortage.
Eastbourne Town P-P Saltdean United
Hassocks P-P Eastbourne Utd AFC
Little Common P-P Lingfield
Littlehampton Town P-P Broadbridge Heath
Loxwood P-P East Preston
Newhaven P-P Crawley Down Gatwick
Peacehaven & Tels P-P Bexhill United
Steyning Town P-P Alfold
Epsom & Ewell P-P Oakwood
Roffey P-P Storrington
Seaford Town P-P Mile Oak
Selsey P-P Billingshurst
Shoreham P-P Hailsham Town
Wick P-P Arundel
Dorking Wanderers Res P-P Horsham YMCA
The government insisted there was no shortage of fuel and supply issues at petrol stations were only being caused by people panic buying – despite fuel suppliers saying they were facing distribution issues caused by a lack of HGV drivers.
Environment Secretary George Eustice denied HGV driver shortages were the main cause of the problem, rejected calls for soldiers to be called in to drive petrol tankers and said people should stop panic buying.
“The most important thing is that people buy petrol as they normally would. There isn’t a shortage. There have been some shortages of HGV drivers getting petrol to forecourts but actually that is quite limited,” he told broadcasters.
Asked about reports of the army being drafted in to reduce the shortage of drivers, Mr Eustice said there are “no plans at the moment” to use the Army to drive petrol tankers.
He suggested things will return to normal if people stop panic buying, but union Unison has called on the government to “designate fuel stations for the sole use of key workers” to ensure essential services are not interrupted.
The union said: “Ambulance crews, nurses, care workers, teaching assistants, police staff and other key workers mustn’t be left stranded or forced to queue for hours simply to get to a pump.
“The government could solve this problem now by using emergency powers to designate fuel stations for the sole use of key workers.”